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With sleek styling and an easy-pee solution, there's a lot to like about the Gore Ardent Bib Shorts+ for women.
Designed for warm weather, the Ardents were tested throughout this summer's heatwave, and generally they do a great job of keeping you feeling fresh in high temperatures, although the Windstopper liner around the pad can make it a bit too warm, and if you go for a lighter colour, be aware of the potential for sweat marks.
I was lucky enough to try two colours of these bib shorts, Utility Green and Orbit Blue (they also come in plain black and black with pink detailing). All four offer the same sleek styling with minimal branding. But one thing to note, in the lighter colours at least, is that when it's really warm and things start to get a bit hot downstairs, sweat can show around the seam of the Windstopper liner.
The overall fit was pretty good. I tested an XS but I think I might have suited an XXS as the leg grippers were a little loose and the legs long enough to sit at the top of my kneecaps unless I pulled them up. If you don't have long legs this is something to check. It was a similar story with the Ardent jersey – I tested an XXS thinking it would be too small, but it was fine.
The bib straps are a mesh construction and they're very comfortable; you don't feel like you're being strangled and they do a good job of acting like they are not there at all.
I tested these shorts over several distances, from short one-hour blasts to three or four hours in the Yorkshire hills, and the pad – an 'ADVANCED Brand Core seat insert with GORE® WINDSTOPPER® Liner' – was faultless in terms of comfort and protection, but as they're summer shorts I'm not convinced they need the liner up front, which just makes things a bit too warm at times.
Otherwise, there were maybe one or two times I had to readjust mid-ride, but overall it was pretty damn comfortable.
Not all women's shorts have an easy-pee solution, and among those that do there are different ways to go about it – zip, clip, halter neck, simple drop-tail... For its 'bio-break solution' Gore has gone for two zips on the rear with a gap in the middle – if you're wearing a short jersey and no baselayer, beware of showing some flesh.
The zips are easy to undo, but I found they're only just wide enough... as you pull the shorts down, the straps pull hard on your shoulders.
The zips' placement does mean you're unlikely to risk damaging your dignity by forgetting to do them up again before setting off, and they're also perfectly comfortable against the skin – I didn't feel them while I was riding.
So far, these are looking good. After multiple washes and dices with blackberry bushes, they're still going strong and showing absolutely no signs of wear.
Premium summer bib shorts with an adequate easy-pee solution are not the easiest bits of kit to find, and the ones that do exist tend to cost a bit more than the Gore Ardents.
For example, Anna really liked the Velocio Women's Ultralight bib shorts when she tested them in 2021, but they are now £213, and Tass was impressed with Rapha's Detachable bib shorts in 2019, and they're now £215 (read her review here).
The Pactimo Women's Summit Classic Bibs Anna tested last year are now £180, so closer but still more expensive than the Ardents, and while Anna liked the pad, the easy-pee solution didn't work for her longer torso.
Overall, I've been pleased by the performance of these bib shorts. They're great for rides right through summer from late spring to early autumn. They're very comfortable, fit well, and come in a good choice of colours. While the Windstopper liner adds a little too much warmth around the pad at times, and consequent sweating around the seams can show on the lighter colours, it's a minor issue outweighed by the quality of the pad and the rest of the bibs. And once you've got the hang of it, the easy-pee solution is just that.
Great pair of summer bib shorts with an easy-to-use pee-break solution – once you get the hang of it
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Gore Wear Ardent Bib Shorts+ Womens
Size tested: XS/36
Tell us what the product is for
Gore says: 'A patented bio-break solution and high-performance engineering create the perfect fitting bib short.'
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
ADVANCED Brand Core seat insert with GORE® WINDSTOPPER® Liner
Functional fabric for moisture control and comfort
Patented bio-break solution for more comfort and ease
Silicone grips and overlock seams for a more secure and comfortable fit
Central torso architecture and three-point anchoring system
Full mesh bib construction
Inseam length 25 cm / 9.8 inches
The shorts feel really well made and after a month of extensive use and washes, there's no sign of wear.
Rode through heatwaves and slightly cooler weather, kept me comfortable and reasonably cool in all temperatures.
No wearing of the silicone grippers or stretching on the legs.
Comfortable and close fitting without being restrictive or creating a sausage leg effect.
I tested the size XS and found there was a little bit of room around the hips and the leg grippers. I'd say the size guide is a bit more accurate for the shorts than the jersey. The legs are also really long, which is fine if that's the style you like, but I have quite long legs and these were almost coming down to my knees.
Comfortable pad over both short and long rides, even in a racier/more aero riding position. The front stitching for it comes up quite high, and includes a sewn-in Gore Windstopper liner, which could be good on cooler days but did make me a little too warm in extreme heat. The straps are comfortable, you barely realise they're there, and the 'bio-break solution' works well once you get used to it.
Cheaper than other premium bib shorts with pee-break solutions.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
No issues to report after being washed multiple times at 30°C.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
They performed well throughout the summer, providing comfort and light compression.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
I liked the choice of colours, and the pee-break system. The shorts are also comfortable overall.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The legs are quite long, meaning the grippers sat around my knees unless I pulled them up.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
They're cheaper than other premium summer bib shorts with easy-pee solutions such as the Velocio Women's Ultralight bib shorts, now £213, and Rapha's Detachable bib shorts at £215. The Pactimo Women's Summit Classic Bibs are a little closer in price but still £180, and Anna wasn't impressed with the pee-solution for people with longer torsos.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
The performance is excellent, even in hotter weather (think, above 25°C). The 'bio-break solution' is easy to use, once you get used to it, and the pad provides comfort on long rides but the Windstopper Liner just feels a little excessive in higher temperatures. Overall, they're very good – and very competitive on price with other premium options.
About the tester
I usually ride: Bianchi Oltre XR1 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb, Gravel